Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Boris Knisch v. Jerome Enterprises, Inc., No. A-91663.
Larry Pitt, for petitioner.
Ronald F. Bove, for respondent.
Judges MacPhail and Colins, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick. Judge MacPhail dissents.
[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 205]
This is an appeal by Boris Knisch (Claimant) challenging the authority of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) to fashion a supersedeas order which in effect both grants and denies a supersedeas petition because it withholds partial compensation from the Claimant as well as attorney fees, litigation costs and medical expenses. For the reasons set forth herein, we must quash the appeal.
Claimant sustained a work-related injury on March 18, 1982 while in the course and scope of his employment with Jerome Enterprises (Employer). On August 26, 1982, Employer filed a petition seeking a suspension of benefits as of July 15, 1982. Also, Employer requested a supersedeas from the referee which was denied. On April 2, 1986, the referee dismissed Employer's petition for suspension of benefits and Employer appealed the referee's decision to the Board. On December 5, 1986, the Board issued an order denying Employer's request for supersedeas as to 80% of Claimant's compensation but granted as to attorney's fees, costs and medical expenses. On December 22, 1986, Claimant filed a petition for review with this Court alleging that the Board's partial grant of Employer's supersedeas petition was improper. On June 19, 1987, the Board issued a final decision which affirmed the referee's decision denying Employer's request to suspend worker's compensation benefits.
There are two issues presented for our resolution in this appeal: (1) whether Claimant's appeal herein is an
[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 206]
interlocutory appeal involving a moot issue and (2) whether the Board erred in fashioning a supersedeas order which both grants and denies supersedeas by withholding 20% of Claimant's compensation, attorney's fees, litigation costs and medical expenses. In reviewing a decision of the Board, our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed, or whether necessary findings of facts are supported by substantial evidence. Section 704 of the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C. S. § 704; Estate of McGovern v. State Employees' Retirement Board, 512 Pa. 377, 517 A.2d 523 (1986).
Preliminarily, we must determine whether the instant appeal is from an interlocutory order. It is well settled that appellate jurisdiction will only lie from a final order, unless otherwise permitted by statute. See Pugar v. Greco, 483 Pa. 68, 72, 394 A.2d 542, 544 (1978).*fn1 A final order is one which: (1) ends litigation, or alternatively disposes of the entire case; or (2) effectively puts a litigant out of court, or precludes a party from presenting the merits of his claim. Pugar at 73, 394 A.2d at 544-45.
Applying the definition of a final order to the case at bar, it is clear that Claimant's appeal of the Board's partial supersedeas order is not an appeal from a final order but from an interlocutory order because the supersedeas order of the Board did not end the litigation nor did it put Claimant out of court. An appeal from an interlocutory order may be taken as of right ...